Manchester City is expected to be without both Kyle Walker and John Stones for tonight’s first-leg Champions League semi-final match against Real Madrid.
Walker has not played since a goalless draw with Atletico Madrid in Spain owing to an ankle injury, while Stones missed Saturday’s 5-1 destruction of Watford due to muscular stiffness sustained in the previous day’s win against Brighton.
While Guardiola hinted that a final decision would be made closer to kickoff, the fact that neither player has been put through their paces ahead of such a big game suggests they are unlikely to play.
In other news, Joao Cancelo has been suspended, which means Guardiola will have to make changes if Walker is ruled ineligible to play. Meanwhile, Nathan Ake and Kevin De Bruyne also played through ailments against Watford.
“They have doubts since they haven’t trained in a week or ten days, John since Brighton.” “We’ll see how they feel and make a choice tomorrow,” Guardiola said of Walker and Stones during his Monday press conference.
“We have a training session at 4 p.m. this afternoon.” We’ll see how they react. We have tonight and tomorrow morning to make a decision. I’ll have to wait until today’s session to make a decision.”
Guardiola did say that some of his players would have to get used to playing in places they aren’t entirely comfortable in, so we might witness a somewhat unorthodox City lineup this evening.
The former Barcelona manager also paid tribute to Madrid, his former adversaries as a player and manager, ahead of the heavyweight semi-final match.
“Their past speaks for itself,” he asserted. “We are eager to compete with them.” Playing against them would be a fantastic test for us, and we’d like to give it a shot. Suffer together when we suffer. Make every effort to perform to the best of your ability.
“It would be the same whether we were playing Bayern Munich or Barcelona.” In this position, they frequently work as a team. We were nearly never here in the last decade, but now we are, which is a fantastic thing. Reaching the finals will undoubtedly be a valuable learning experience for us.”
Man City’s predicted starting XI is as follows: Ederson, Ake, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko, Rodri, Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Foden, Jesus.
Walker (ankle), Stones (doubt) (muscle tightness)
Cancelo has been suspended.